In just over two weeks time the Liberal Democrats will have a new leader. What do the candidates stand for?
The Lib Dem leadership election was triggered by Nick Clegg’s resignation after his party went from 57 to just 8 seats. Former party President, Tim Farron, and former government Minister, Norman Lamb are standing to replace Nick Clegg.
Ballot papers went out last week, voting finishes on July 15th and the result will be announced the following day. Just two candidates are standing.
In a recent Lib Dem leadership leaflet, Tim Farron outlines his reasons for wanting to lead. He makes four key points.
Firstly, he makes it clear that he is a liberal and discusses how he grew up. Secondly he says that “my experience growing up showed me that nothing robs you of your freedom more than poverty and poor housing”, something that clearly positions him as a more social liberal, one believing strongly in positive freedoms.
He also admits that in government his party was "blurred" and that he will fight for the UK to stay in the EU and for human rights, issues that will be coming up over the next five years. And finally, he also makes it clear that he thinks liberalism is under threat and that the party has “hope”. He says that since the election Liberal Democrat membership has actually increased.
He also outlines his goal for the party to have 100,000 members by 2020, an ambitious target but something that could just be possible.
Mr Lamb’s leadership election leaflet discusses his past experience, both in government and out, attempting to show that he has the experience needed to lead and experience in the real world.
He talks about his “victories” as a lawyer and makes the cases for changing drug laws, protecting rights and mental health issues. The leaflet also contains names such as Tom Brake MP, Sir Ming Campbell and Ed Davey - all of whom are backing Lamb for leader.
Who will win?
Both candidates clearly lay out where they stand and how they will act as leader. But when it comes down to it the party faces a choice between two leaders, with two futures: one led by someone who was in the coalition government, and one led by someone on the outside looking in. And with the party likely to be in opposition just for the foreseeable I would put my money on Farron.